Hebrews 2:18
For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.
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(18) For.—The necessity of being “in all things made like to His brethren” has been shown from the nature of the case; it is now illustrated from the result. The “brethren” and the “people” of Hebrews 2:17 are here “the tempted.” Through the temptations arose those sins of the people for which He makes propitiation. In His having been tempted lies His special ability to help the tempted, by His sympathy, by His knowledge of the help that is needed, by the position of High Priest which He has gained through suffering. It is difficult to decide between two translations of the first words of the verse: (1) “In that He Himself,” (2) “Wherein He Himself hath suffered being tempted.” The former is simpler, but, perhaps, less natural as a rendering of the Greek. The latter may indeed at first seem to set a bound to our Lord’s ability to help, but with the recollection of the infinitude of His life (comp. John 21:25) all such limitation disappears.

2:14-18 The angels fell, and remained without hope or help. Christ never designed to be the Saviour of the fallen angels, therefore he did not take their nature; and the nature of angels could not be an atoning sacrifice for the sin of man. Here is a price paid, enough for all, and suitable to all, for it was in our nature. Here the wonderful love of God appeared, that, when Christ knew what he must suffer in our nature, and how he must die in it, yet he readily took it upon him. And this atonement made way for his people's deliverance from Satan's bondage, and for the pardon of their sins through faith. Let those who dread death, and strive to get the better of their terrors, no longer attempt to outbrave or to stifle them, no longer grow careless or wicked through despair. Let them not expect help from the world, or human devices; but let them seek pardon, peace, grace, and a lively hope of heaven, by faith in Him who died and rose again, that thus they may rise above the fear of death. The remembrance of his own sorrows and temptations, makes Christ mindful of the trials of his people, and ready to help them. He is ready and willing to succour those who are tempted, and seek him. He became man, and was tempted, that he might be every way qualified to succour his people, seeing that he had passed through the same temptations himself, but continued perfectly free from sin. Then let not the afflicted and tempted despond, or give place to Satan, as if temptations made it wrong for them to come to the Lord in prayer. Not soul ever perished under temptation, that cried unto the Lord from real alarm at its danger, with faith and expectation of relief. This is our duty upon our first being surprised by temptations, and would stop their progress, which is our wisdom.For in that he himself ... - "Because" he has suffered, he is able to sympathize with sufferers.

Being tempted - Or, being "tried." The Greek word used here is more general in its meaning than the English word "tempted." It means to "put to the proof;" to try the nature or character of; and this may be done either:

(1) by subjecting a person to "afflictions" or "sufferings" that his true character may be tried - that it may be seen whether he has sincere piety and love to God; or.

(2) by allowing one to fall into "temptation," properly so called - where some strong inducement to evil is presented to the mind, and where it becomes thus a "trial" of virtue.

The Saviour was subjected to both these in as severe a form as was ever presented to people. His sufferings surpassed all others; and the temptations of Satan (see Matthew 4) were presented in the most alluring form in which he could exhibit them. Being "proved" or "tried" in both these respects, he showed that he had a strength of virtue which could bear all that could ever occur to seduce him from attachment to God; and at the same time to make him a perfect model for those who should be tried in the same manner.

He is able to succour ... - This does not mean that he would not have had "power" to assist others if he had not gone through these sufferings, but that he is now qualified to sympathize with them from the fact that he has endured like trials.

"He knows what sore temptations mean,

For he has felt the same."

The idea is, that one who has himself been called to suffer is able to sympathize with those who suffer; one who has been tempted, is able to sympathize with those who are tempted in like manner. One who has been sick is qualified to sympathize with the sick; one who has lost a child, can sympathize with him who follows his beloved son or daughter to the grave; one who has had some strong temptation to sin urged upon himself can sympathize with those who are now tempted; one who has never been sick, or who has never buried a friend, or been tempted, is poorly qualified to impart consolation in such scenes. Hence, it is that ministers of the gospel are often - like their Master - much persecuted and afflicted, that they may be able to assist others. Hence, they are called to part with the children of their love; or to endure long and painful sicknesses, or to pass through scenes of poverty and want, that they may sympathize with the most humble and afflicted of their flock. And they should be willing to endure all this; because:

(1) thus they are like their Master (compare Colossians 1:24; Philippians 3:10); and,

(2) they are thus enabled to be far more extensively useful.

Many a minister owes a large part of his usefulness to the fact that he has been much afflicted; and for those afflictions, therefore, he should unfeignedly thank God. The idea which is here expressed by the apostle - that one is enabled to sympathize with others from having himself suffered, was long since beautifully expressed by Virgil:

"Me quoque per multos similis fortuna labores,

Jactatam, hac demum voluit consistere terra.


18. For—explanation of how His being made like His brethren in all things has made Him a merciful and faithful High Priest for us (Heb 2:17).

in that—rather as Greek, "wherein He suffered Himself; having been tempted, He is able to succor them that are being tempted" in the same temptation; and as "He was tempted (tried and afflicted) in all points," He is able (by the power of sympathy) to succor us in all possible temptations and trials incidental to man (Heb 4:16; 5:2). He is the antitypical Solomon, having for every grain of Abraham's seed (which were to be as the sand for number), "largeness of heart even as the sand that is on the seashore" (1Ki 4:29). "Not only as God He knows our trials, but also as man He knows them by experimental feeling."

For in that he himself hath suffered: the reason foregoing the Spirit illustrates in this verse; he is such a merciful and faithful High Priest, by being a sufferer himself, which he could not have been feelingly, but by his being incarnate. So many, great, and afflictive sufferings never any endured but himself; he felt what sin deserved, and would fasten on sinners without his interposing; though he were sinless, what terrors from God within, what pains in his body without, did he suffer and undergo! Such as are unparalleled, Hebrews 12:3.

Being tempted; not from any corruption or sin within him, Hebrews 4:15 John 14:30; but from an inveterate enemy, the devil, without him, and all the instruments he used of his associated spirits and men. How early on the entrance on his office did the devil begin with him, and thought to have foiled him as he did the first Adam! And how did his children tempt him, with the which the gospel is filled in so many pages! By these he felt what temptations were, how difficult to avoid sin under them, how fearful it was to be exercised by them, Hebrews 5:7, how much such as miscarry under them are to be pitied; what sore evils sin brings on the committers of it; what succour, strength, stablishing, settlement his brethren need under it, Luke 22:43,44; and how easily without his assistance his tempted ones may be foiled by it.

He is able to succour them that are tempted: now sensibly made fit by his own sorrows, temptations, and sufferings, he is powerfully inclined to help his; subjected he was to all of them, to make him feelingly, tenderly pitying of us. He had the mercies of God before, and as if that were not enough, the tempted nature of a man, to soften his heart to pity his brethren in their sufferings and temptations. These sufferings of his had a purchasing power and ability in them for us, he thereby buying help and succour for us as to all ours, that should be correspondent unto his; so as by his bloody death under temptation he bought off ours, either not to overtake us, or if under them, he is habitually and meritoriously thereby to succour his; most compassionately and readily giving forth all reasonable, suitable, and sufficient support under and remedy against all these temptations, which for sin, or from it, his brethren are afflicted with, and come to him for help. This is the most powerful preservative against despair, and the firmest ground of hope and comfort, that ever believing, penitent sinners could desire or have. From all which these Hebrews might have been convinced what little reason they had to be offended with his humiliation or death, who was their Messiah; and though for state and time a little lower than the angels, yet in the human nature was thereby exalted to be the Lord and Head above them all.

For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted,.... By Satan, at his entrance on his public ministry, and a little before his death; which was done, not by stirring up sin in him, for he had none, nor by putting any into him, which could not be done, nor could Satan get any advantage over him; he solicited him one thing and another, but in vain; though these temptations were very troublesome, and disagreeable, and abhorrent to the pure and holy nature of Christ, and so must be reckoned among his sufferings, or things by which he suffered: and as afflictions are sometimes called temptations, in this sense also Christ suffered, being tempted, with outward poverty and meanness, with slight and neglect from his own relations, and with a general contempt and reproach among men: he was often tempted by the Jews with ensnaring questions; he was deserted by his followers, by his own disciples, yea, by his God and Father; all which were great trials to him, and must be accounted as sufferings: and he also endured great pains of body, and anguish of mind, and at last death itself. And so

he is able to succour them that are tempted; as all the saints, more or less, are, both with Satan's temptations, and with afflictions in the world, which God suffers to befall them, on various accounts; partly on his own account, to show his grace, power, and faithfulness in supporting under them, and in delivering out of them; and partly on his Son's account, that they might be like unto him, and he may have an opportunity of succouring them, and sympathizing with them; and also on their own account, to humble them, to try their faith, to excite them to prayer and watchfulness, and to keep them dependent on the power and grace of God: and these Christ succours, by having and showing a fellow feeling with them; by praying for them; by supporting them under temptations; by rebuking the tempter, and delivering out of them: and all this he is able to do; he must be able to succour them as he is God; and his conquering Satan is a convincing evidence to the saints of his ability; but here it intends his qualification, and fitness, and readiness to help in such circumstances, from the experience he himself has had of these things.

For in that he himself hath suffered being {g} tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.

(g) Was tried and urged to wickedness by the devil.

Hebrews 2:18. Elucidatory justification of ἵνα ἐλεήμων γένηται κ.τ.λ., and by means thereof corroborative conclusion to the last main assertion: ὤφειλεν κατὰ πάντα τοῖς ἀδελφοῖς ὁμοιωθῆναι. Christ, namely, became qualified for having compassion and rendering help, inasmuch as He experienced in His own person the temptations, the burden of which pressed upon the brethren He came to redeem. Comp. Hebrews 4:15-16ἐν ᾧ] equivalent to ἐν τούτῳ ὅτι (comp. John 16:30 : ἐν τούτῳ, propter hoc), literally: upon the ground of (the fact) that, in that, i.e. inasmuch as, or because. Comp. Bernhardy, Syntax, p. 211; Fritzsche on Romans 8:3, p. 93. The interpretation “wherein,” or “in which province” (Luther, Casaubon, Valckenaer, Fritzsche, l.c. p. 94, note; Ebrard, Bisping Kurtz, Woerner, and others), with which construction an ἐν τούτῳ corresponding to the ἐν ᾧ has to be supplied before δύναται, and ἐν ᾧ itself is connected with πέπονθεν or with πειρασθείς, or else by the resolving of the participle into the tempus finitum is connected in like measure with both verbs, is to be rejected; not, indeed, because in that case the aorist ἔπαθεν must have been employed (Hofmann, Schriftbew. II. 1, p. 392, 2 Aufl.), nor because the plural ἐν οἷς must have been placed (Hofmann, Delitzsch, Riehm, Lehrbegr. des Hebräerbr. p. 320, note),—for only slight modifications of the sense would result in this way, the substance of the statement itself remaining untouched,—but in reality for the reason that the thought thus resulting would be unsuitable. For Christ’s capacity for conferring sympathy and help would then be restricted within the too narrow bounds of like conditions of suffering and temptations in the case of Himself and His earthly brethren. Bleek, too, understands ἐν ᾧ in the ordinary signification: “wherein,” but then—after the example of Chr. Fr. Schmid—takes the words ἐν ᾧ πέπονθεν as a kind of adverbial nearer defining to αὐτὸς πειρασθείς: “Himself tempted in that which He suffered,” i.e. Himself tempted in the midst of His sufferings. So likewise more recently Alford: “for, having been Himself tempted in that which He suffered.” Against this, however, the violence of the linguistic expression is decisive, since πειρασθεὶς γὰρ αὐτὸς ἐν τοῖς παθήμασιν, or something similar, would have been much more simply and naturally written.

The emphasis rests not upon πέπονθεν (Hofmann), but upon αὐτὸς πειρασθείς, inasmuch as not the ̔πάσχειν in and of itself, but the πάσχειν in a definite state, is to be brought into relief: because He Himself suffered as one tempted, i.e. because His suffering was combined with temptations. αὐτὸς πειρασθείς, however, was designedly placed at the end, in order to gain thereby a marked correspondence to the following τοῖς πειραζομένοις.

δύναται] not a note of the inclination (Grotius: potest auxiliari pro potest moveri ad auxiliandum, and similarly many others), but of the possibility.

τοῖς πειραζομένοις] a characteristic of τοῖς ἀδελφοῖς, Hebrews 2:17. The participle present, since the state of temptation of the human brethren is one still continuing.

βοηθῆσαι] to come to the help, sc. in that He entirely fills with His Spirit the suffering ones, whose necessities He has become acquainted with as a result of His own experience.

Hebrews 2:18. ἐν ᾧ γὰρ πέπονθεν.… He concludes this part of his argument by explaining the process by which Christ’s becoming man has answered the purpose of making Him a merciful and faithful High Priest. The explanation is “non ignara mali miseris succurrere disco”. ἐν ᾧ is by some interpreters resolved into ἐν τούτῳ ὅτι = whereas; by others into ἐν τούτῳ ὅ = wherein; the second construction has certainly the ampler warrant, see 1 Peter 2:12; Galatians 1:8; Romans 14:22; but the former gives the better sense. It is also contested whether the words mean, that Christ suffered by being tempted, or that He was tempted by His sufferings. Both statements of course are true; but it is not easy to determine which is here intended. Are the temptations the cause of the sufferings, or the sufferings the cause of the temptations? The A.V. and the R.V., also Westcott and others, prefer the former; and from the relation of the participial πειρασθείς to the main verb πέπονθεν, which naturally indicates the suffering as the result of the temptation, this would seem to be the correct interpretation. Bleek, Delitzsch, Alford and Davidson, however, prefer the other sense, Alford translating: “For He Himself, having been tempted, in that which He hath suffered, He is able to succour them that are (now) tempted”. Davidson says: “These sufferings at every point crossed the innocent human instinct to evade them; but being laid on Him by the will of God and in pursuance of His high vocation, they thus became temptations”. Dr. Bruce says: “Christ, having experienced temptation to be unfaithful to His vocation in connection with the sufferings arising out of it, is able to succour those who, like the Hebrew Christians, were tempted in similar ways to be unfaithful to their Christian calling”. The interpretation has much to recommend it, but as it limits the temptations of Christ to those which arose out of His sufferings, it seems scarcely to fall in so thoroughly with the course of thought, especially with Hebrews 2:17. δύναται, cf. Hebrews 4:15, Hebrews 5:2.

18. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted] These words have been taken, and grammatically may be explained, in eight or nine different ways. One of the best ways is that here given by the A. V. and endorsed by the R. V. This method regards the Greek ἐν ᾦ as equivalent to the Hebrew ba-asher, which means “in so far as.” “By His Passion,” says Bp. Wordsworth, “He acquired compassion.” Of other possible ways, the most tenable is that which takes ἐν ᾦ quite literally. “In that sphere wherein He suffered by being tempted”—the sphere being the whole conditions of human life and trial (comp. Hebrews 6:17; Romans 8:3). But the first way seems to be the better. Temptation of its own nature involves suffering, and it is too generally overlooked that though our Lord’s severest temptations came in two great and solemn crises—in the wilderness and at Gethsemane—yet Scripture leads us to the view that He was always liable to temptation—though without sin, because the temptation was always repudiated with the whole force of His will throughout the whole course of His life of obedience. After the temptation in the wilderness the devil only left Him “for a season” (Luke 4:13). We.must remember too that the word “temptation” includes all trials.

he is able to succour them that are tempted] Rather, “that are under temptation” (lit. “that are being tempted,” i.e. men in their mortal life of trial). This thought is the one so prominent throughout the Epistle, viz. the closeness of Christ’s High-Priestly sympathy, Hebrews 4:15, Hebrews 5:1-2.

Hebrews 2:18. Ἐν ᾧ, in that) This is like an adverb; Romans 2:1.—δύναται, He is able) This ability of mind (viz. His power to sympathize) is treated of, ch. Hebrews 4:15, Hebrews 5:2.—βοηθῆσαι, to succour) Hence Paul infers the βοήθειαν, help, ch. Hebrews 4:16.

Verse 18. - Such power of sympathy Christ, by undergoing human sulk. ring and temptation, acquired. For in that (or, wherein) he hath suffered himself being tempted (or having been himself tempted in that wherein he hath suffered), he is able to succor them that are tempted.

Hebrews 2:18In that he himself hath suffered being tempted (ἐν ᾧ γὰρ πέπονθεν αὐτὸς πειρασθείς)

Rend. for having himself been tempted in that which he suffered. The emphasis is on having been tempted. Christ is the succored of the tempted because he has himself been tempted. Ἐν ᾧ is not inasmuch as, but means in that which. Ἐν ᾧ πέπονθεν qualifies πειρασθείς, explaining in what the temptation consisted, namely, in suffering.

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